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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘league’

Florida State House Candidate Apologizes to the ADL

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

A son of Holocaust survivors, who is running for reelection in the Florida statehouse, has apologized to the Anti-Defamation League after labeling the group “despicable.”

The ADL had criticized Sheldon Lisbon after he sent out an email to supporters in June with the subject line, “A vote for Shelly Lisbon is a vote for the Jewish community,” according to the Miami Herald.

In a response letter to Lisbon, the ADL wrote that “appealing to voters along religious lines is divisive,” according to the newspaper. Lisbon then told the editorial board of the Miami Herald that the ADL’s comments were “despicable.”

Lisbon, who had sent the email to members of his synagogue, is challenging state Rep. Joe Gibbons, who is African American, in the state’s newly drawn District 100. Redistricting put the two in the same district.

The new district puts only 43 percent of the voters in Broward County, the rest being in Miami-Dade County. The state’s Democratic primary is Aug. 14.

In an email to the Miami Herald Thursday night Gibbons wrote, “I used a term that is far removed from what the ADL represents. What I did was totally inexcusable and as a son of Holocaust survivors who was born in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany, my statement was reprehensible.”

JTA

The Delmon Young Saga

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Every time Delmon Young come to bat, gets on base or makes a play in the field, we are reminded of his anti-Semitic rant in New York back in April.

As you recall, an inebriated Young encountered four tourists from Chicago giving money to a panhandler wearing a yarmulke and sporting a star of David around his neck. According to police reports, it was about 2:30 in the morning outside of the New York Hilton where the Tigers team was quartered when Young yelled anti-Jewish epithets and tackled one of the tourists, who suffered a minor elbow injury.

Young ran into the hotel and made his way up to his room. A security guard called police who arrested the 6-foot-3, 240-pound ballplayer in his room.

Tigers president and general manager David Dombrowski was traveling with the team at the time and was informed of the situation. He rushed to Young’s room, talked to the police and summed up the situation later to the media.

“He [Young] was apologetic at that time, although not in a very good state.” Dombrowski said. “Later on, he reached out to me and the organization so I know that he’s very apologetic and knows there is no excuse for what he did.”

The police took Young to Roosevelt Hospital where he sobered up and was charged later with second-degree aggravated harassment, which includes assaulting or threatening to assault someone “on the basis of the victim’s race or religion.”

Major League Baseball suspended the Tigers left fielder/designated hitter who is earning a whopping $6.75 million this season despite being a mediocre player who did get hot right before this week’s all-star break. The seven-day suspension cost Young approximately $258,000 in lost wages. Young does have an anger management problem. While playing in the minor leagues six years ago, he was suspended 50 games for throwing a bat at an umpire who had called him out on strikes.

The Tigers are Young’s third major league team in six years and he’ll be on his way again after the season as his contract is up and he’s a free agent. The incident will cost him dearly as many teams will shy away from him. Besides, he’s a below average fielder and runner and is a liability when stationed in the outfield. And he’s proving to be just an average designated hitter.

After his arrest in New York, Young issued an apology. More likely the Tigers public relations department wrote an apology attributed to Young:

“I sincerely regret what happened last night. I apologize to everyone I affected, the Ilitch family [Tigers owners], the Detroit Tigers organization, my teammates, my family and the great Tigers fans that have supported me since day one. I take this matter very seriously and assure everyone that I will do everything I can to improve myself as a person and player.”

Young is undergoing treatment in an alcohol program. The Tigers allowed Young to talk to the media after the suspension and here’s some of the things he said regarding the incident:

“I made a lapse in judgment, but I can tell you that I am not anti-Semitic.” He added that “being perceived as an anti-Semite is hard to deal with. That’s the toughest part, being branded as a racist or bigot, especially when that’s just not true. I have a lot of diverse friends and live in a diverse area.”

Diverse friends? Diverse area? What does that mean? It could mean that some are single and some are married; some are Republicans and some are Democrats. Anyway, I’m not convinced. Something about Jews or something Jewish caused Young to go ballistic.

We should know a bit more on August 2 as the case was adjourned until then to give Young’s lawyers more time to prepare his defense. In the meantime, a Detroit area Reform rabbi not known for wearing a yarmulke but known to be a Tigers season ticket holder, is buddying up with Young and advising him about Jews and Judaism.

Young’s agent, who is Jewish, should be busy this off-season trying to find a new team for him to sign with. One thing’s for sure: he won’t be earning what he’s earning this season.

Irwin Cohen

Abe Stark’s Famous Sign

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

The 40th yahrzeit of Abe Stark, who died at 77 in July 1972, is almost upon us.

Those of you who remember Ebbets Field, abandoned by the Dodgers in 1957, can recall the Abe Stark sign on the bottom of the scoreboard embedded in the right field wall.

The sign, only three feet high and 30 feet long, which read: “Hit Sign, Win Suit,” was the most famous stadium ad in baseball history. It made Abe’s establishment at 1514 Pitkin Avenue known around the country.

The ballpark, bordered by the right field wall on Bedford Avenue, the double decked-stands in front of Montgomery Street (behind left field), Sullivan Place (behind first base), and McKeever Place (on the third base side), was the most famous location in Brooklyn.

The area was a hub of mass transit. Fans arrived via bus lines on nearby streets: Flatbush Avenue, Reid Avenue and Empire Boulevard. Fans poured out of the IRT subway stop only two and a half blocks away, and the closer Prospect BMT subway station a block and a half from the park.

Bedford Avenue limited the capacity of Ebbets Field, as it was only 297 feet down the right field line to the high wall of almost 20 feet, topped by another 20 feet of screen to protect pedestrians and cars.

The cozy little ballpark had seating for about 32,000, but at times fans couldn’t even find a place to stand. Some 37,512 paid their way in on August 30, 1947, to see the hated rival Giants take on their favorites in Jackie Robinson’s first year as a Dodger, which set the all-time Brooklyn franchise record for a single game.

Whether you sat or stood, you saw the Abe Stark sign and may still remember the address of the store on Pitkin Avenue. Most of all, though, you remember the name Abe Stark.

Stark was born in 1895. He saw the transformation from horse and buggy to the automobile. He opened his first clothing store in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn years before he ever heard a radio program. He was in his 30s before movies could talk.

Abe Stark’s famous sign.

Stark himself was a good talker and entered politics in the mid-1940s. In 1953, when many Americans were buying their first television set, Stark was elected president of the New York City Council.

Abe stayed in the position until 1961, when the Yankees of Mantle and Maris were the only game in town as the Dodgers and Giants were in their fourth year on the West Coast. Stark then went on to win three terms as borough president of Brooklyn and got to see men land on the moon via television in 1969.

Stark was involved in many Brooklyn charities and was the founder of Abe Stark Philanthropies and the Abe Stark Hillel Foundation at Brooklyn College.

As much as he loved Brooklyn, Stark opted for retirement in the sunshine and warmth of West Palm Beach, Florida, where he died.

While Abe Stark’s sign is fondly remembered by the older generation of baseball fans, another Ebbets Field sign heralding a soap company generated the most laughs.

That sign, which covered a section of the right field wall from ground upward to screen, read: “The Dodgers Use Lifebuoy.” Sometime one summer night during a Dodgers losing streak, at least one disgruntled fan got into Ebbets Field and, armed with some paint and a brush, added a few words at the bottom of the sign.

The altered sign read: “The Dodgers Use Lifebuoy, and they still stink.”

Author, columnist and speaker Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years before working in a major league front office earning a World Series ring. The president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

Irwin Cohen

Playoffs: Lakewood Heimishe Bake Shoppe, Segwayz advance

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The playoff seedings are set, and tension is at a climax, heading into the All Star Israel Softball League post-season. The Wild Card round games will be played this weekend at Kraft Family Stadium, with the semifinals next weekend. The two teams to emerge will then play for the coveted Holyland Series Championship Trophy.

The top two seeds, Café Rimon and Bagelsbergs, e arned first round byes. For Rimon, the week off comes at the perfect time, giving star pitcher Yaacov Ehrlich a chance to recover from a minor injury.

In Ehrlich’s absence from the mound, reliever Yanky Itzkowitz filled in ably, earning two wins in two weeks, and allowing a total of only four runs. League observers have pegged Rimon as the championship favorite, after their recent 23-2 landslide win over Bagelsbergs clinched the top seed, and gave them a perfect undefeated record in the regular season.

Segwayz and Lakewood Heimishe Bake Shoppe earned the right to face each other in the Wild Card round, after successful regular season campaigns placed them in the 4th and 5th seeds, respectively. Each has reason to believe they can win it all, especially after evenly-matched meetings with the two top seeds. Lakewood was the only team to give Rimon a real nip-and-tuck dogfight, while Segwayz won a nailbiter over Bagelsbergs.

Perennial contenders Lobos are sitting pretty as the third seed, awaiting the result of the final regular season game between the Brooklyn Lightning and Jerrys’ Kids. A win for Brooklyn would advance them to face Lobos. Should Jerry’s Kids successfully play the spoiler, Torah Tidbits would land the final spot.

Monty Wayland

Israeli Football Team Loses First International Match

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Israel’s American football team took the field last Thursday in Petah Tikva, and lost its first international match by a score of 49-6 to Maranatha Baptist Bible College Crusaders from Watertown, Wis.

According to AP, Israel’s 10-team amateur league is gaining audience interest. Last year’s Israel Bowl attracted more than 1,000 fans and was broadcast live on an Israeli sports channel.

The Israeli league normally plays 8-a-side on a 60-yard field, but Thursday’s game was a regulation 11 versus 11 on a 100-yard field, which proved to be a challenge for the Israeli players.

Maranatha’s first touchdown came only 2 minutes after the opening whistle. Israel scored one touchdown, off a 76-yard pass in the second quarter.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Jackie Robinson: A Real Mensch

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

I was lucky enough to have met and interviewed many Hall of Famers including Joe DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg, Ted Williams and Stan Musial.

I also had the chance to meet and gab with many of the stars from the old Negro Leagues who went on to play in the major leagues after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier – Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin and Satchel Paige. But I never had the chance to meet Jackie Robinson.

I did, though, meet Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s elegant, graceful widow.

From everything I’ve heard on the baseball beat, Jackie Robinson was a credit to his race – the human race. More important than being a great athlete and ballplayer, he was intelligent, articulate, and above all a great husband and father. He was, in short, a genuine mensch.

Robinson was only 53 when he died in 1972, old before his time, racked with diabetes and nearly blind.

This year baseball is celebrating the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color barrier. It was April 15, 1947, when Robinson became the first openly black man to play in the major leagues.

Ebbets Field was a ballpark of small dimensions and limited seating capacity of some 32,000. Only 25,623 paid their way in to see Robinson’s debut on Opening Day in 1947, 4,000 less than the ’46 opener. But the Dodgers went on to set their all-time Brooklyn attendance record of 1.8 million in 1947.

The only black man in the majors excited fans that year by batting .297 with 12 home runs and 29 stolen bases, more than double anyone else.

Calling the games on radio that year for Brooklyn was Red Barber, a man steeped in the prejudices of his era and place of birth. Barber was born in Mississippi and moved with his family when he was 10 to central Florida.

“I saw black men tarred and feathered by the Ku Klux Klan…. I had grown up in a completely segregated world,” Barber recalled in his book 1947 – When All Hell Broke Loose in Baseball.

Barber thought about quitting. After all, a Southern gentleman in 1947 couldn’t be expected to work for an organization that would treat a black man as an equal. But Robinson wasn’t an equal – he was superior to most ballplayers at the time, superior as a player and as a man.

Robinson went to college and starred at UCLA in basketball and football before serving in the army. He earned the rank of second lieutenant and was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, and Fort Hood, Texas, where white officers wouldn’t give him a chance to try out for the baseball team.

After being turned in by a bus driver to military police for refusing to sit in the rear seating area, Robinson faced a court martial for disobedience but eloquently won his case. After receiving an honorable discharge, and with the doors closed to blacks in many fields including professional baseball, Robinson joined the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues in 1945.

Fair-minded men at the time tried to promote the integration of blacks in baseball without success. Boston Jewish councilman Isidore Muchnick threatened to pass legislation to ban Sunday baseball in Boston unless the Red Sox granted a tryout to three Negro Leaguers.

A tryout was arranged for three players from different Negro League teams – Jackie Robinson, Sam Jethroe and Marvin Williams.

The tryout was originally scheduled for April 12, 1945, but that turned out to be the day President Roosevelt died. Vice President Truman was inaugurated as president and Roosevelt was buried in Hyde Park, New York, on Sunday, April 15. The day of FDR’s burial, British forces liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where 16-year-old Anne Frank died the previous month.

The following day, April 16, the three Negro Leaguers came to their Red Sox tryout at Fenway Park. Jackie Robinson was the most impressive of the tryout trio, prompting Red Sox manager Joe Cronin to tell Muchnick he hoped the team would sign Robinson. But the Red Sox never followed up and would become the last major league team to field a black player – some 14 years later.

Robinson went on to star for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945 and attracted the attention of Brooklyn Dodgers boss Branch Rickey, who followed Robinson’s activities off the field as well. Rickey was convinced he had found the right man to break baseball’s unwritten color barrier and signed Robinson to a contract in early 1946 and assigned the infielder to the Dodgers’ top minor league club in Montreal.

Red Barber was also following Robinson’s progress. It was just a matter of time before Robinson would be up with the Dodgers and Barber was mulling over quitting.

“I didn’t quit,” Barber related in his book. “I made myself realize that I had no choice in the parents I was born to, no choice in the place of my birth or the time of it. I was born white just as a Negro was born black. I had been given a fortunate set of circumstances, none of which I had done anything to merit, and therefore I had best be careful about being puffed up over my color.”

Irwin Cohen

Play Ball!

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

The 2012 baseball season should be a most interesting one.

Every game is important. No longer can a team just play for the Wild Card spot and have an equal shot with the three division winners at participating in the World Series (as St. Louis did last year).

This year, as you may know, there will be two Wild Card teams in each league fighting it out in a one game winner-take-all for the right to advance with the three division winners to the playoffs.

Every game means something as the Wild Card club with the most wins will have home field advantage for the one-game playoff. But teams will play hard to win their division as that will assure them of a postseason playoff spot. Plus, with a couple of extra days’ rest as the Wild Card clubs battle it out using their best pitchers, the three division winners will be resting their top starting pitchers.

In my opinion, the six top clubs among the 30 major league teams are the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies.

In the American League, Detroit has the biggest advantage as they have by far the best team in the Central division. In the East, the Yankees have to contend with Boston, the great young pitching staff of Tampa Bay, and an improved Toronto team.

In the West, the Texas Rangers added the much-publicized pitching star from Japan Yu Darvish. However, the Rangers lost free agent pitcher C. J. Wilson to the Angels and the California club also added superstar Albert Pujols via a mega-contract his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals, couldn’t match.

In the National League East, the Phillies will have to fight off young and talented Washington and Miami teams that could easily top Philadelphia if injuries to veteran players linger too long. And, of course, there are the always-contending Atlanta Braves.

In the N.L. Central, the Milwaukee Brewers lost free agent Prince Fielder to the Tigers and replaced his bat, somewhat, with free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez from the Cubs. St. Louis is weaker without Pujols, and the Cubs and Houston Astros can only hope to win as many games as they lose. The Cincinnati Reds strengthened their pitching staff and have a potent lineup that should dominate the weakened division.

Out west, catcher Buster Posey is back from missing most of last season with a broken leg and should push the Giants higher. The Arizona Diamondbacks are capable of winning more than they lose; Colorado, while not as good, should be in the middle of the pack, while the southern California clubs battle it out to stay out of last place.

Here’s how I see the final standings:

American League East: New York Yankees; Boston Red Sox; Tampa Bay Rays; Toronto Blue Jays; Baltimore Orioles.

American League Central: Detroit Tigers; Minnesota Twins; Cleveland Indians; Kansas City Royals; Chicago White Sox.

American League West: Texas Rangers; Los Angeles Angels; Seattle Mariners; Oakland Athletics.

National League East: Philadelphia Phillies; Miami Marlins; Washington Nationals; Atlanta Braves; New York Mets.

National League Central: Cincinnati Reds; St. Louis Cardinals; Milwaukee Brewers; Pittsburgh Pirates; Houston Astros.

National League West: San Francisco Giants; Arizona Diamondbacks; Colorado Rockies; Los Angeles Dodgers; San Diego Padres.

As stated above, I wouldn’t be surprised if Miami and Washington finish ahead of the injury-riddled Phillies. And, of course, injuries at the end of the season will play a major role in determining which teams advance to the World Series.

Enjoy the season, and as always, it’s nice to hear from Jewish Press readers.

Author, columnist and lecturer Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years before earning a World Series ring while working in a major league front office position. Cohen, the president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net. His column appears the second week of each month.

Irwin Cohen

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/play-ball-2/2012/04/12/

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